One of the most prevalent beliefs of the Chinese philosophies is that men are born good. People are naturally good unless they fail to develop their feelings and senses. Confucianism teaches that a lack of knowledge can be the cause to evil. In Poem 238, a woman named Chiang Yuan gave birth to the human race by sacrificing and praying to God. She bore her child easily because she sought after blessings from God. Confucianism teaches that good things will come to those who are good and do good. A. N.
Whitehead’s quotation of a Cambridge vicar says, “For well-conducted people, life presents no problems.” The mother in the poem seemed to be well-conducted and therefore she was blessed with a painless, easy childbirth. It says that God gave her ease and blessed her because he was pleased with the sacrifice and prayer. The poem paints a picture of how even the animals protected the baby. This might be because of their view of being born flawless and without evil.
This baby was protected by the animals because there was no evil in him. Hou Chi, the baby boy, grew up to be a wise man and continued to be blessed and prospered through his crops and farming. He would be considered to be the “superior man” because of his moral wisdom and his ability to tell right from wrong. Because he lived by his mother’s example and gave sacrifices to God, good things came to him. The power of moral example is strongly shown here. His mother first taught him the importance of sacrifice and prayer and through that, he learned to do the same and show respect and fear God.
Another philosophy is the importance of filial piety and reverence. Parents are revered because they give life to their children and sacrifice much for them. The child brought honor to his mother by keeping her religious traditions. God was pleased by his actions and blessed him his entire life. This is a very ideal form of what a man can be like, but it is very unrealistic. If man were actually born good, then evil would not have such a major influence and affect everyday lives.
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Topic: Chinese Philosophy and Poetry
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